We often hear of friends and family moving abroad and settling down, but have you heard of foreign nationals finding their purpose in India? Benjamine Oberoi, a French national moved to India in 1978 to do her PhD in Child Psychology. Little did she know that life had a wonderful turn for her, when she met her husband in India and decided to settle here.
From France to India, With Love
After Benjamine finished her PhD, she took up some work with Nimhans in Bangalore. Once she was done with that she got to work for a small French NGO, and that’s where it all started. For years, she consulted for NGOs without even knowing that she was consulting with them. It was only when a Swiss foundation came down to India and told her how important her work is, that is when she created Objectif France Inde to be able to raise funds for projects that she was developing with her local partners. Over the years, people from many funding institutions started trusting and recommending her for her management and reporting skills.
From Casa Cottage to Casa Foundation
If you google ‘Benjamine Oberoi’, you will find yourself staring at a page called ‘Casa Cottage’. This is a small heritage hotel in Bangalore started by Benjamine and her husband. She tells us, “Running the business helps us have the ground reality of running an institution, knowing about costs, legal aspects, difficulties and more. Part of our profit goes to Casa Foundation to support the children’s project. Some customers start to supports our work in many different ways: a doctor or a dentist can start to consult for the children, a IT guy can get us computers, another can give us bedsheets or plates. Help comes in so many forms”
Casa Foundation, another charity run by Benjamine was founded just a few years ago. She started the foundation to raise funds in India. When we asked her about why Casa Foundation was started, she said, “We realised that rural projects have difficulties to get funded in spite of the good work they do. Especially when it involves women and children. We felt the necessity to bridge the gap and explain the rural work to some of the companies who want to help but can’t travel and see the issues of rural areas. Everyone in the foundation is a volunteer, which makes our overheads very low and most of the funding goes to the projects”
“Women empowerment in rural area has taken place in a big way and our partners have a very efficient work model to help so many women be confident and responsible of their own development.”
Even though it was started a few years ago, Benjamine believes that the Casa Foundation is still in an infant stage and needs more recognition, “The few companies who have trusted us have become reliable partners for us and we can think together on bigger projects. For me personally, I am proud that all the projects we have done have helped so many disadvantaged children and women. We can guarantee that no money is wasted. Women empowerment in rural area has taken place in a big way and our partners have a very efficient work model to help so many women be confident and responsible of their own development.”
Volunteers Are Always Needed
Benjamine believes that everyone should volunteer and help the poor and vulnerable section of society. She wishes that more people would take time out to volunteer and help the numerous NGOs that are out there.
While it is true that a lot of people donate to charities and NGOs, it is rare to find someone, especially from a foreign country to come into India and do the difficult and humble work that Benjamine has been able to do. Here’s wishing success to Benjamine, and we hope that more people help and volunteer with her to make the lives of women and children better.
Pic credits: Travspire